Oakland recreation program offers safe place for special needs kids

Thirteen-year-old Mai Richard likes to hang out at the Mosswood Recreation Center, where she and other special needs kids can play games, chat, whip up snacks and check out computers.

It’s a safe place for the girl with cerebral palsy to have fun yet be supervised by trained help.

“Mai wants to be with other teens and not with her parents as much,” her mom, Hoa On, said of the Oakland recreation program. “I know this is a safe environment for her.”

Over the two-week Christmas break, Mai and her fellow campers will make holiday cards, prepare food, take a field trip to see Christmas lights and go out for lunch.

The Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation, a nonprofit group that offers funds and volunteers for city park and recreation programs, provided scholarships to the holiday campers.

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